Cos re-adopt WFH on Omicron – Times of India

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CHENNAI: Rising Covid cases across the country and the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant has forced India Inc to rethink its hybrid working model. Companies have started telling employees to work from home (WFH) and play it safe.
Companies that had opened their doors for employees to voluntarily come and work from offices since September-October last year are now asking them to go back to WFH mode. HR representatives say all eyes are on state guidelines and restrictions around the current wave. With government departments declaring 50% attendance for its personnel, the private sector is also shelving plans to get employees back to office.Various companies TOI spoke to — including large employers such as Cognizant, Amazon, Flipkart and new age startups such as Razorpay said they have asked employees to re-adopt WFH. They plan to reassess the situation and decide on a working model. Senior executives and team leads at large IT services firms who had voluntarily started working from office are back to their home offices. Most of the IT firms had decided to bring in close to 70% staff from January, and those plans are now uncertain.

Cognizant said it aims to return to office in April, given the uncertain path of the Omicron variant and global outbreaks. “Until then, travel and office-based work will remain restricted. The health and safety of our employees and contractors, their families, our clients and our communities remain our top priority,” a statement from the company said.
“Flipkart has been flexible in its approach and created a hybrid model for all our corporate employees, that combines campus and remote work options starting December 2021. In view of the rising cases, we’ve advised our employees to not come into the office for the next two weeks,” a Flipkart spokesperson said. An Amazon India spokesperson said that the majority of the company’s employees are working from home at the moment. Amazon added that they are monitoring the situation closely and will consider the health and safety of employees in making any decision.
Most global captive centres (GCCs) had devised global plans to welcome teams in India back to office in a rostered manner from the current month. But they have now told employees that such plans stand cancelled until further notice, and WFH will continue, industry sources said.
American firm BNY Mellon, which has presence in Mumbai, Chennai and Pune, said in a statement that they are considering guidance from the medical community and will provide employees with at least 30 days’ notice on eventual return date. The company had previously been allowing vaccinated employees who want to work from the office to do so, subject to local regulations. Most startups and new age digital companies were largely remote and, while some employees had started coming together at offices for better morale, they are back to WFH mode.
Fintech major Razorpay has been practicing a hybrid model since offices in Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon re-opened in 2021 and few employees were coming in of their own will. “But as and when we see a surge in Covid cases, we shut down our offices in interest of employee safety. Given the current scenario, we are all working from home. We will continue to monitor the situation and take a call post-January 15 on when the office can reopen,” a spokesperson for Razorpay said.





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